Clyde & Co LLP


Combining a prestigious history in the insurance industry with strength in aviation and aerospace, energy, transport, shipping and logistics, Clyde & Co also boasts depth in dispute resolution and international arbitration.  A truly global firm, it has 21 offices in 16 countries, covering the majority of the world's major financial centres.  Its cosmopolitan staff is qualified in 17 jurisdictions and collectively speaks over 37 languages.  The firm is the 19th-largest in the UK by revenue, and between 2007 and 2008 saw 60 per cent growth across its international network.

Bombs, fires - and insurance

Leaving his position with a firm of City marine lawyers in 1933, distinguished Scottish solicitor Richard Arthur Clyde set up his own practice on Lime Street, at the heart of London's insurance market.  He began to receive instructions from insurance companies and Lloyds underwriters, and before long went into partnership with Maurice Hill, a member of the founding family of Liverpool solicitors' firm Hill Dickinson & Co.

When war broke out in 1939, the management of Clyde's practice was left in the safekeeping of Hill Dickinson & Co.  Clyde went to work for the office of the Treasury Solicitor, while Hill joined the RAF.  Upon their return in 1945, they found their offices bombed and missing a wall.  On the plus side, they had picked up solicitor Gordon Blacker, who served as an RAF bomber pilot.  The firm progressed steadily throughout the post-war years, but it was not until Gordon Blacker became senior partner in 1971 that the firm began to see rapid growth.  Blacker's vision drove the firm to embark on a dramatic expansion process which saw it double in size every five years, unhindered even by a serious fire in the London office in 1977.  The firm opened its first overseas office in Hong Kong in 1981.

Leaps and bounds

Expansion continued under Michael Payton, who took over as Clyde & Co's senior partner in 1984.  As well as opening a whole host of international offices, Clydes also took over specialist aviation firm Beaumont & Son in 2005, bolstering its strength in aviation insurance and litigation.  In 2006, Clyde & Co picked up a four-partner team from Condon & Forsyth, a US firm, and in doing so announced its first foray into the North American market.  In January 2009, the firm profited from the dissolution of New York firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood by hiring former partner John Woods, a litigator and specialist in maritime insurance.

When it comes to insurance, Clyde & Co really know what they're talking about.  With the firm seeing the largest leap in insurance firm turnover in 2008-a 17 per cent climb from £130 million to £157 million-it has compounded its success through extensive international reach, with offices springing up in strong insurance centres.

Middle Eastern expansion

Clyde & Co is the largest international law firm in the Gulf Cooperation Council and, thanks to offices in Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh, has extensive coverage in the region.  In 2003, it became the first Western firm to establish a presence in Iraq, forming a relationship with major Iraqi firm Numan Shakir Numan and cashing in on post-war reconstruction contracts.

The year 2008 saw more Middle Eastern growth, with Clydes seizing new talent from the UAE offices of Pinsent Masons and Simmons & Simmons to boost its own contentious construction practice in the region.  The expansion continued into the new year, with David McElveney joining the Abu Dhabi office as the new head of the construction and projects practice in January 2009, accompanied by associate Glen Warwick, both from the Australian firm Deacons.  Two months later, partner Peter Hodgins joined the Dubai office as a partner in the area of Islamic insurance.  In April 2009, the firm set up shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, via an alliance with the Law Office of Abdulaziz A. Al-Bosaily.  Most recently, the firm announced an alliance with Indian firm ALMT Legal, giving Clyde & Co a presence in Bangalore and Mumbai.Reaping the rewards

In January 2009, The Lawyer reported that the firm had borrowed close to £45 million to help pay for its international expansion.  The firm's investment in its global network seems to be paying off.  Clydes reported that both turnover and profit showed double-digit growth over the 2007-2008 financial year.

In addition, an impressive selection of awards have been added to Clyde & Co's already extensive collection.  In 2008, the firm was named "Most Innovative Firm in Dubai" at the IFLR Middle East Awards, while Asian-Counsel magazine dubbed it "Firm of the Year 2008" for the UAE, as a result of its work in restructuring.  Clyde & Co's Middle Eastern restructuring work in 2008 included advising on the Dubai Islamic Financial Centre's first-ever insolvency, that of Forsyth Partners, and the restructuring related to the $2.4 billion private acquisition of the Dubai Pearl project.  The firm was also named "World's Leading Aviation Firm" in the Guide to the World's Leading Aviation Lawyers in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.  The Queen's Award for Enterprise was awarded in 2007.

In 2009, Clyde & Co was ranked 11th in the world in the "GAR 30", Global Arbitration Review's list of the top 30 arbitration practices, while a survey conducted by Managing Intellectual Property magazine named Clydes a top firm for both patent prosecution and patent contentious work in the UAE.

Bucking the trend

At a time when many firms are not only trimming their solicitor ranks but also reducing their partner headcount, Clyde & Co stands out.  In February 2009, the firm added two more aviation finance lawyers to its London office with the hire of partner Mark Bisset and associate Oliver Tebbit from Stephenson Harwood.  And in April 2009, the firm announced that 10 associates were being promoted to partnership, a record number for the firm.  The bulk of the promotions were made in London, while the Middle East gained two partners, and San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro one each.

Clyde & Co LLP

51 Eastcheap
London EC3M1JP
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7623 1244


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Senior partner: Michael Payton
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 540

Major Office Locations

  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  • Shanghai, China
  • San Francisco, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Caracas, Venezuela
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Guildford, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Nantes, France
  • Piraeus, Greece
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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